What is a Sleeping Bag Liner?
A sleeping bag liner is to extend the life of your sleeping bag. Essentially a liner is like a sheet that separates your skin from your sleeping bag which can easily be removed from the bag to be washed separately; this means less frequent cleaning of your actual sleeping bag. This can extend the useful life of your bag which was probably not cheap unlike a liner which is much less costly to replace and also less susceptible to damage when washing. This is an important aspect of sleeping bag liners and if this is your only goal with one it really doesn’t matter which one you choose.
However, there is another thing to look at; a sleeping bag liner is and should be an integral part of your overall sleep system. This doesn’t just mean adding warmth to your sleeping bag though sometimes breathability is more important or texture or allergy concerns. When building a sleep system, it’s important to know the conditions you’ll be sleeping in and build a system of parts that work together, complement each other, and offset each other’s weaknesses.
Do sleeping bag liners make it warmer?
A sleeping bag liner seems like a boring piece of gear not worth much concern or consideration but choosing the right one really can make a world of difference in overall comfort and quality of camp life. One more obvious consideration with a sleeping bag liner is that it can add a few degrees of warmth to your sleep system typically between 5 to 15 degrees Fahrenheit or minus 15 to 10 degrees Celsius.
In the summer that isn’t necessarily a good thing but this can be remedied by opting for a liner made of a material that offers good heat transfer or by using a liner on top of your sleeping bag as a standalone blanket on really hot nights.
How to choose a Sleeping Bag Liner?
There are several options to choose from when deciding a sleeping bag liner.
What kind of materials to look for in a Sleeping Bag Liner?
We’re going to discuss the different strengths and weaknesses of insulated fleece, cotton, synthetics, and silk and then I’ll tell you my personal preference for liners and why?
Insulated liners offer the most additional warmth. Insulated Liners are ideal for cold weather camping or camping at higher elevation. They’re not great for summer trips to the desert and they can also be expensive and they pack pretty large. In other words this is most likely overkill and the usefulness of this liner will likely not justify the pack size and weight it takes up in your saddlebags.
Fleece adds a good amount of warmth second to insulated liners depending on model and features. Fleece is also soft and comfortable but this is not a great option for summer trips unless you’re using it as a standalone blanket. If you want to save money on gear and you tend to push late into the fall with your camping, then this is a good option for getting some extra warmth from your sleeping bag when it’s cold. And in the summer you could always skip the sleeping bag and just take the liner.
Fleece also has moisture wicking properties and it dries quick both useful features for camping much like the insulated liners fleece will be bulky and heavy and more is not always better.
Cotton is a cheap option that is rugged and durable but it doesn’t dry quick and it packs fairly large and can also be heavy. It is an option and not necessarily a bad one if you aren’t concerned about weight and pack size.
Synthetics are a good option for warm weather or even colder weather. Depending on model and features it’s usually breathable in moisture wicking which means it will pull sweat away from your body at night and spread it out in the fabric so it can evaporate more quickly. Both are good features for warm weather camping but also when it’s cold these features will still come in handy. They also tend to pack small and they’re lighter than the other options we’ve covered so far.
This is my personal favorite due to its versatile nature I’m not saying this is the right option.
For every trip if your winter camping on your bike you may want to go with a fleece or insulated option. But for most motorcycle camping needs, silk will fit the bill nicely for starters. It’s lightweight and pack small which is a good start but here’s the strength of silk that really shines for me it works well in both cold and hot climates it can be insulating in the cold and can also be breathable in the heat.
5 Best Sleeping Bag Liners in 2023
Now, let’s take a look at some of the best sleeping bag liners for your next camping trip in 2023.
1. Sea to Summit Reactor
The THERMOLITE Reactor Extreme is the warmest backpacking knit sleeping bag liner Sea to Summit offers. The hollow fiber threads work just like the hollow fur of a polar bear in that they trap heat effectively. When the mercury drops you’ll appreciate the mummy shape and drawcord hood with mini cord lock attached.
Depending on your environment and sleep conditions, this liner can increase your sleeping bag warmth by up to 25F.
- Fabric Type: 100% Polyester
- Temperature Rating: Extreme
- Item Dimensions LxWxH: 82 x 36 x 0.4 inches
- Item Weight: 0.5 Pounds
2. ALPS Mountaineering Mummy Liner
The ALPS Mountaineering Mummy Liner is a cozy sleeping bag liner for mummy-style sleeping bags. Made of high-quality PolyCotton fabric, it will keep you warm all night. If you’re tired of trying to clean the inside of your sleeping bag and it’s constantly getting dirty, this liner will be a great solution!
Also includes a convenient standard stuff sack for easy travel.
- Best Use: Backpacking
- Material(s): Polyester
- Dimensions: 80 x 32 inches
- Weight: 9.6 ounces
3. The Friendly Swede
With the practical carabiner hook, you can carry the liner in its pocket, hanging from your backpack, to cool down between campsites, and literally using up no space in your bag.
The Friendly Swede liners also feature a large pillow pocket which, with its full 41″ width, fits all regular-sized pillows.
They work great all year around, they will add a few degrees warmth during autumn and winter nights, but are nice and cool enough for summer camping trips and backpacking in warmer climates. Their main purpose of protecting you and keeping your sleeping bag nice and clean, is of course where it does the best job.
- Closure Type: Zipper
- Outer Material: Polyester
- Brand: The Friendly Swede
- Item Dimensions LxWxH: 86.61 x 41.34 x 0.2 inches
4. Sea to Summit’s Premium Silk/Cotton Blend
These travel liners are made of a blend of two premium quality natural fibers for the ultimate in comfort and performance – and, the feel of this liner is pure luxury.
- Outer Material: Silk-Cotton blend
- Fabric Type: 70% Cotton/ 30% Silk
- Item Dimensions LxWxH: 73 x 36 x 0.4 inches
- Item Weight: 0.35 Pounds
5. TETON Sports Sleeping Bag Liner
The TETON Sports Sleeping Bag Liner is an essential addition to your sleeping bag! Insert the liner into any sleeping bag to make for easy clean up after camping and to add warmth. It can also be used alone as a warm-weather bag or as a comfy travel sheet.
The sides of the liner open 24-inches and fold down for easy entrance and exit. It features safety Velcro tabs to close the openings to keep out drafts. This durable liner is made with re-enforced seams and is machine washable and dryable. Includes a stuff sack with drawstring, barrel-lock, and handle for easy carrying and storage.
- Size: Cotton Mammoth / 91″ x 58″
- Closure Type: Zipper
- Outer Material: Cotton
- Item Dimensions LxWxH: 91 x 58 x 0.25 inches